Breaking: Billy Kennedy not expected back for next season
As first reported by Brent Zwernerman and the Houston Chronicle, Texas A&M basketball coach Billy Kennedy is not expected back next year for what would be his 9th season in College Station. Whether the veteran head coach chooses to resign or is fired after the Aggies disastrous 2018-2019 season concludes during this week's SEC conference tournament is unclear at this time, however, with nearly 5 million dollars remaining on his contract, it is pretty safe to assume the latter.
After reaching the NCAA tournament for a school-record six years in a row, Aggie basketball was on the come up when former head coaches Billy Gillispie and Mark Turgeon resurrected the previously dormant program in the early 2000s. Then Kennedy walked through the door. In the next eight seasons, the Aggies would reach the postseason just twice in 2016 and 2018 respectively.
Despite a painfully mediocre 150-115 record during his tenure, there were some bright spots. In 2016 the Maroon and White would win a share of the regular season SEC title, defeat #10 ranked Kentucky, and reach the Sweet 16 for just the third time in program history after a historic comeback against Northern Iowa in the second round. The Ags would reach the third round of the tourney in 2018 as well, making Kennedy the only coach in program history to get there twice.
The Aggies also sent several players to the NBA who played under Kennedy including Khris Middleton, Danuel House, Jalen Jones, Alex Caruso, Robert Williams, and Tyler Davis.
Diagnosed with Parkinson's shortly after being hired, Kennedy has courageously fought the disease and is widely respected for his character and moral fiber off of the court. However, he and his staff could not sustain the level of success that their predecessors initiated and the parting of ways was unavoidable after the Aggie's ended conference play with a 13-17 regular season record.
Zwernerman also reported that the supposed front runner to replace Kennedy is Virginia Tech head coach and former Texas A&M assistant, Buzz Williams. Williams has spent extensive time in the Lonestar state in the early part of his career, coaching at the high school, junior college, division three, and division one levels. During his two year stint in College Station, he played a big role in recruiting players like Bryan Davis, Donald Sloan, and Deandre Jordan. Currently, he has the Hokies primed for a run in the NCAA tournament after defeating three ranked teams on the season and posting a 23-7 record in the ACC.
The Aggies will host the Vanderbilt Commodores in the first round of the conference tourney Wednesday night at 8:30 pm.